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The cutting of the Baddeley Cake  
Twelfth Night, the 6th January 2010 marks the 200th year of the cutting of the Baddeley cake at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
The cutting of the Baddeley Cake at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Over the years there have been many different individuals who have provided the famous cake, each one being unique and individually designed showing a scene or theme from the current show. This year the cake is being provided by Sugar Craft and will be cut by the cast of the current production of Oliver!

One of the original Directors of the fund was Mr Robert Baddeley who died in 1794. In his will he left a bequest to provide a Twelfth Night Cake and Punch to be enjoyed by the company in residence at Drury Lane every year on January 6th.

The Fund took over the administration of this fascinating bequest in December 1821, when Baddeley’s executer transferred the £100 of 3% stock to the names of the Trustees of the Fund “for the purchase of a Twelfth Cake and Wine for ever’.

The first Baddeley Cake was cut on Wednesday 6th January 1796, making the ceremony perhaps the oldest theatrical tradition still observed.

In the 18thCentury, Twelfth Night was a festival which was much celebrated as the end of the Christmas season. There have only been thirteen known occasions when it has not been possible to carry out the bequest because of the Theatre being closed or the ingredients for the cake not being available during war time rationing.

In the beginning, The Manager of the Theatre was responsible for the arrangements but since 1822, Drury Lane theatrical Fund have organized the Ceremony every year. Really Useful Theatres, the current management, Very kindly provide the Punch which is dispensed from a beautiful silver bowl given to the Theatre by the original My Fair Lady company.

Posted on: 24th December 2009

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